Published On:21 October 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

BOOK REVIEW: Saiyid Hamid - A Relentless Reformer

Reviewed by Dr. Obaidur Rahman

Book: Saiyid Hamid - A Relentless Reformer (A Biography)
Author:: Mohammed Aleem
Publication: Gloriords Publications, New Delhi
Pages: 168
ISBN: 978-81-923065-0-6
Price: INR 395

Biography enables a reader to know more about the individual and to determine what makes him or her special. Here words paint a picture of events or actions that broaden the reader’s thought and imagination. It provides a doorway to the reader to have a glimpse of the individual and the time period in which he or she lives. We have life stories of notable people that not only tell the basic facts about them but the details of events as they experienced.

A recent addition in the list of Biographies is 'Saiyid Hamid - A Relentless Reformer'. It relates to a personality who is well known for his humbleness, unique talents and passion for social reforms. As an officer of Indian Administrative Service in various Departments, as a Bureaucrat, and as a Vice-Chancellor of a pioneering Institution and his alma mater, Aligarh Muslim University, he worked beyond the call of his duties, accepted difficulties and challenges with great charisma. He helped in realizing the dream of Hakeem Abdul Hameed to establish Jamia Hamdard. It was due to his efforts that the University was conferred deemed to be University status. Hamdard Education Society is yet another glaring example. Many caravans dedicated to education, health, communal harmony and justice brought awareness among the people. Apart from all such zeal and keenness, he earned a great reputation as aliterary critic and a poet. Like so, he achieved a mark in all his official as well as personal responsibilities.
Saiyid Hamid’s contributions to academic arena and social field are well recognised. It is, of course, a matter of pride for us that he is still working for the wellbeing and security of the weaker sections of the nation.

Photo by Danish Ahmad Khan
Mohammed Aleem is the author of memoirs, who is a commended novelist, playwright and script writer. It is not only life story of the multi-dimensional persona, Saiyid Hamid, but it provides a glimpse of good and bad days, ups and downs, dark and bright seasons with the author’s deeper understanding of the events and actions and that too in a very clear, coherent, lucid and vigorous manner. It is an example of sunny piece of narration for which the author deserves appreciation.

The book has eight chapters with suitable headings that give an outlook of the text inside. Bibliography and Index are also included for ready reference. The author has dedicated the book to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Hakeem Abdul Hameed, the two great advocates of education and culture. And, Saiyid Hamid followed the same path of progress to diminish illiteracy and ignorance from the society. That way, the dedication of the book is quite expressive and the author again deserves appreciation for the same.

In Prologue, the author with all his sincerity and naturalness has reported the beginning of the project in a very interesting way and expressed gratitude for the moral support received from Hamid sahib and his admirers. The other chapters are: The Early Days and Education, Stepping into the Public Life, The Big Challenge, A Multifaceted Reformer, The Organisational Link, A Poet, A Scholar, A Writer. These titles are self-explanatory and enfold the subject from beginning to at present. The ‘Early Days and Education’ spread over the period 1920-1942 describes in detail the family and the relatives as well as gives a historical preview of the birth place, Faizabad.

The chapter ‘Stepping into the Public Life’ records events of 1943-1980. It covers his first assignment, further placements, routine experience, and his love for games, especially Hockey, reading and writing. ‘The Big Challenge’ is the most important chapter of the book which shields happenings between 1980 and 1985. It depicts the days at his alma mater, Aligarh Muslim University as its Vice-Chancellor. These were the days of many ups and downs and several tough decisions.

The university was side-tracked due to anarchy and many other campus hitches. The explanation given in the book of tackling the problems proves the administrative skills of Saiyid Hamid. About his passion of bringing education and economic prosperity to the community and efforts made in this direction, the chapter ‘A Multifaceted Reformer’ speaks a lot. It provides summaries of various educational institutions and caravans meant for educational, health, communal harmony, justice and awakening of women. ‘The Organisational Link’ is a testimony to Saiyid Hamid’s association and active participation with numerous Commission Reports and Organisations working for the prosperity of the society. This chapter refers Sachchar Committee Report, Anjuman Taraqqui Urdu Hind, Maulana Azad National Urdu University and Jamia Hamdard, apart from the launch of fortnightly magazine Nation and the World. The chapter ‘A Poet,A Scholar, A Writer’, is all about his literary attainments, books and lectures. A total of 21 such publications are appended in Bibliography. References of few books written about Saiyid Hamid’s literary accomplishments and his eminent personality by other writers are also included. Index is a very important part of a book, in general, and for a biography, in particular. Name of places, monuments, personalities, organisations, events etc. referred to in the text is appended in the Index.

The Epilogue is an appropriate concluding part of the book. Here, the author has very truthfully offered views about his subject and confirmed that Saiyid Hamid always offered his full energy and brain to his office and duties. After his superannuation he happily accepted the most difficult job of the time, the Vice-chancellorship of Aligarh Muslim University. Still he is attached with his routine and serving as the Chancellor of Jamia Hamdard. The author also opined that although Saiyid Hamid has more than 18 very important books on different topics related to society, education, culture, literary criticism etc. but he couldn’t get much attention by Urdu critics. At the same time, it is also a fact that he is very popular among Urdu readers, scholars and critics. The author rightly observes that the reason may be that he took it as second hobby and kept himself busy with missionary, educational and welfare activities that were more important for the community to prosper.

The biographical work on a respected civil administrator, a real lover of the community, a distinguished poet and a renowned critic, and a devotee to sports, Saiyid Hamid, is an addition to such category of work. For this, the efforts and research done by the author Mohammed Aleem is exemplary.The Gloriords Publications, New Delhi also deserves gratefulness for the beautiful lay-out, get-up and overall presentation.

[Dr. Obaidur Rahman, a Ph D in Zoology is working as Editor of The Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences. He has written, edited and translated 13 books and about 200 popular articles, book reviews, research papers and Editorials on scientific and literary issues. He served Maulana Azad National Urdu University as its Regional Director. He also writes poems in Urdu. He can be contacted at obaid.rahman715@yahoo.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on October 21, 2012. Filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on October 21, 2012. Filed under , , , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

4 comments for "BOOK REVIEW: Saiyid Hamid - A Relentless Reformer"

  1. The book review is worth reading and presents a glimpse of the book in an effective way.The book will certainly improve our understanding about the the great Saiyed Hamid. Congratulations to the writer, reviewer and publisher.
    Osaid Rahman

  2. An effort that was worthwhile...and my congratulations for having put a man of great stature before the gen -xt as he can serve as a role model for us. I had many opportunities of brief interactions with him and have hugged him once too, and i don’t have the words to share my experiences. He is an epitome of wisdom, kindness, simplicity, statesmanship, leadership, brotherly hood for us all.....in particularly almost a fatherly figure for me. May he live long & continue to inspire us! Aameen

  3. Sayyed Hamid's Sb.'s renowned personality and his unparallel efforts and contributions towards the upliftment and reforms for his community and society needs no introduction, yet this book review by Dr. Rahman reveals many unknown shades of the relentless pursuits of this living legend. The book review compels and makes me curious to grab the copy of the book. I congratulate the writer Mr. Md. Aleem (in advance as I'm yet to read the book) and Dr. Obaidur Rahman for his crisp, informative and commendable book review and ofcourse to publisher who brought out this book for the readers.


    Abdul Qadir

  4. Dr Obaidur Rahman has really written a good review. and he deserves every praise. it made me go through the book and i felt truly elated while reading it. every book lovers should read this book and try to emulate the life of great Hamid Sahib who is like a treasure trove for our beleaguered community. we should admire our heroes well as other community people are doing.

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